The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has warned European parts suppliers that they risk being sanctioned given their continued surreptitious dealings with embargoed Iranian airlines.

In an advisory issued on Tuesday, July 23, warning all foreign entities of the potential consequences of doing business with Iran, OFAC said it had tracked cases wherein "European suppliers" with offices in Tehran, had instructed "Iranian airlines to remit payments to accounts in third countries" in order to by-pass US sanctions.

It did not name the firms involved.

Non-US individuals are banned from exporting goods, services, and technology to Iran or its government. No aircraft that contains more than 10% US-controlled content may be exported to the country while leases of aircraft are also banned.

"Foreign financial institutions that knowingly conduct or facilitate significant financial transactions for or on behalf of certain designated Iran-related persons — including Iran Air, Mahan Air, Caspian Airlines, Meraj Air, Pouya Air Lines, Dena Airways, Al-Naser Airlines (Iraq), Syrianair, Dart Airlines (Ukraine - defunct), Khors Aircompany (Ukraine), Kyrgyz Trans Avia (Kyrgyzstan - defunct), Qeshm Fars Air, and UM Air (Ukraine - defunct) - may be exposed to sanctions, which may include designation and listing on the SDN List or restrictions on or loss of access to the U.S. financial system," it said.

In what is seen as an oblique warning to Conviasa (V0, Caracas Simón Bolivar) as well as airports, OFAC said those firms that continue to provide services to US-designated Iranian airlines "like Mahan Air" that they remain at risk of being sanctioned.

It said that potentially sanctionable activities — when conducted for or on behalf of a designated person — could include:

  • Financial services;
  • Reservations and ticketing;
  • Freight booking and handling;
  • Procurement of aircraft parts and equipment;
  • Maintenance;
  • Airline ground services;
  • Catering;
  • Interline transfer and codeshare agreements;
  • Refuelling contracts.

Since early 2018, OFAC has designated 10 entities that have provided support to Mahan Air, including front companies procuring spare aircraft parts; and general sales agents providing services in Malaysia, Thailand, and Armenia.